Budget blowout could be millions

The Wagga levee bank upgrade could cost millions of dollars more than first expected, according to an independent costing commissioned by council.
Nanjing Night Net

The considerable cost discrepancy has surfaced mere months before construction is expected to begin and nearly four-and-a-half years after the project was devised.

The upgrade will protect Central Wagga against a one-in-100-year flood event – or a 11.3 metre high river – and protectNorth Wagga against a one-in-20-year flood – or a 10-metre high river.

The state government department of public works, which has been building levee banks across NSW for the past three decades, designed and costed the entire upgrade at $23.3m.

Council has already startedslugging property owners an extra $7.75 million over five yearsto fundits contribution the project and the state and federal governments have collectively set aside more than $15 million.

However, an independentquantity surveyor has now suggested the main levee bank upgrade alone –not including North Wagga –will cost far more.

Wagga council general manager Alan Eldridge refused an interview, but in a written statement said the cost of construction was not clear.

“Council has had conflicting advice on the cost of levee upgrade from independent experts,” Mr Eldridge said.

“By taking the project to market we will get a much clearer picture on how much the project will cost.

“(Wagga council) is not prepared to start works until we are very clear on the expected costing.”

Councillors on Monday night decided to let the market determine the cost by going to tender within the next week.

If private enterprise quotes $23.3m or less, then there should be no interruption to construction, but if quotes come in above that price, council will have to ask the state government for more money.

Asked whether the rate hike would be jacked up to cover a potential shortfall, mayor Greg Conkey said “that wasn’t being talked about”.

“There are conflicting prices and the market will determine who’s correct,” Cr Conkey said.

“The quotes could come in under $23.3 million.”

TheOffice of Environment and Heritage said the state government’s quote was for the purposes of council’s funding applications.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Posted in 南京夜网